Chapter Twenty-Five: Under the Overhang.
“Well, you made it boy.” Kryos growled as he caught sight of Tauren exiting the Inn. “Wasn't sure you would.” He chuckled, then his eyes caught the person behind him, he raised an eyebrow and stepped forward. “And who might you be?” His hardened manner seemed to a lift for a moment with the question.
The shadow -Laenya looked down at him for a moment, seemingly unsure of herself. “I'm Kyla, a . . . friend of Tauren's. I was going to come with him to look at your horses.”
Kryos raised a cryptic eyebrow at Tauren. “Is that so. Well, then you're welcome to come. Just this way, if you will.” He slammed his staff off a couple times on the paving stones, and then glancing up at the dark buildings on either side of them, produced a lamp which he quickly lit. “I'm just a few minutes out of town. Follow me.” Quickly he headed off down the road, leaving the noisy -and still loud- Inn behind in the darkness.
Tauren nodded reassuringly to her and followed Kryos. It'd taken a few minutes, but he'd been able to convince her that he meant her no harm, and really did know everything there was to know about her. After she'd seemed satisfied she'd decided to come with him to see the horses. Her manner was subdued and thoughtful, but slightly more positive. Oddly enough, she still hadn't told him her name. . . .
He glanced between her and the tall, cloaked form of Kryos every few moments in the darkness, wary as the lights of the town disappeared behind them, and he found them passing through knee-high grass, climbing up the side of a hill. She walked with her head low, frowning. Seriously, I'm not going to hurt you. He muttered to himself.
“So, what do you two think of the plain lands, eh?” Kryos asked suddenly, breaking the silence, and causing both of them to look up at him.
“Who says we aren't from the plains?” Tauren asked.
Kryos chuckled. “It's pretty obvious. You walk with your feet low to the ground, not stepping high. Good for flat ground, but out here you'll just trip yourself doing that. So how do you like the Plains of Netheron?”
Tauren shrugged, unconsciously stepping a bit higher. “I like them. I grew up in the forests and never saw the plains until just a few days ago. They're . . . different. Beautiful in their own way.”
“I agree.” Kryos said. “That's why I decided to settle out here. I used to fight, but that became unprofitable. Now I raise horses and sheep, like everyone else here. It's a simple life, but a good one. An honest one for a change. More honest than killing. What about you Miss? What do you think of the plains? Ever been in them before?”
Shadow -Laenya looked at him curiously. “I've been to plains before, but they weren't like these. They were bigger, with higher grass. My father always said that plains were the safest place on earth. It's too hard to hide lower than the grass. I always felt safe in them.”
Kryos chuckled. “Your father was right -and so are you. It's hard to be caught by surprise when there's nowhere for your enemies to hide. See this scar.” He tapped a thin, pale scar that went from his ear to the edge of his nose. “Got that from an Arrel battleaxe. Lucky I had my helmet on or I'd only have half a head now, but he was hiding behind a tree and caught me by surprise. No tree's out here to hide behind.”
Tauren nodded. “My grandfather always said a man who was wary of a knife in the back was a man to be cautious of. You know why he said that?”
Kryos chuckled again. “A man who's worried about such things is a man who's seen life and is ready for anything. He's a man with experience. He knows things. Experienced, ready, smart men are always potentially dangerous?”
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The Soul Forge.Fantasy
Book one of the Netheron Chronicles. Welcome to Netheron. A land on the brink of a war in which it has no hope; it's ancient protectors have returned to their own lands, and the land is now left virtually unprotected, helpless in the hands of a m...